Work Description

Title: Dataset of apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronologic analyses from the Rio Grande Rift, Colorado and New Mexico, USA to accompany Abbey and Niemi, 2019, Tectonics. Open Access Deposited
Attribute Value
  • Data for determining apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He ages for rock samples from the Rio Grande Rift, Colorado and New Mexico. Individual apatite and zircon grains were extracted from rock samples using standard crushing, magnetic, and density techniques. Individual apatite and zircon mineral grains were hand-selected under a microscope and encapsulated in Nb foil tubes. The quantity of naturally occurring 4He in each grain was measured via laser heating on an ASI Alphachron Helium Instrument at the University of Michigan by isotope dilution mass spectrometry. Individual grain packets were subsequently dissolved in HNO3 and the quantity of U, Th, and Sm in each grain were measured by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry at the University of Arizona. The (U-Th-Sm)/He thermochronologic ages derived from these data were determined using the standard radiogenic age equations, solved using a Matlab script. Age errors are propagated from analytical uncertainties. Age corrections due to alpha-ejection follow standard protocols.
  • These data were produced in the scope of research into the timing, rate, and magnitude of extensional exhumation along the length of the Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico. The low-temperature (apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He) thermochronometric ages presented in this data set are sensitive to near-surface temperatures (~80C and 180C, respectively) and record the progressive exhumation of the rock mass from which the samples were collected towards the Earth's surface. These thermochronometric ages, and the differences between them, provide insight into the absolute timing, exhumation rate and total magnitude of exhumation on the normal faults that bound the Rio Grande Rift.

  • The QTQt program mentioned (Version QTQt64R5.6.2a was used for the data presented in this deposit) is not openly available for download, but is described in the Gallagher 2012 publication referenced, and can be requested from its author. For more information on the request process and a user guide, see
Contact information
Funding agency
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
Date coverage
  • 2016-05-01 to 2018-09-01
Citations to related material
  • Abbey, A. L., & Niemi, N. A. (2020). Perspectives on Continental Rifting Processes From Spatiotemporal Patterns of Faulting and Magmatism in the Rio Grande Rift, USA. Tectonics, 39(1), e2019TC005635.
Resource type
Last modified
  • 08/28/2021
  • 12/10/2019
To Cite this Work:
Niemi, N., Abbey, A. (2019). Dataset of apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronologic analyses from the Rio Grande Rift, Colorado and New Mexico, USA to accompany Abbey and Niemi, 2019, Tectonics [Data set], University of Michigan - Deep Blue Data.


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